tv Zebulon Pike and Pikes Peak CSPAN August 24, 2015 6:00pm-6:12pm EDT
night at 8:00 eastern. at 8:00 p.m. eastern, and wednesday night, scenes from st. bernard parish, louisiana, one year as the c-spanm, continues its tour of hurricane katrina damage, followed by a 2005 town hall meeting in new orleans with then mayor ray nagin. announcer: the c-span cities hear around the nation to from local historians, authors, and civic leaders every other weekend on c-span book tv and american history tv on c-span3, and this month with congress on its summer recess, it is on c-span each day at 6:00 p.m. eastern. today, we look at the history of core a lot of springs -- of colorado springs, and we start pikes peak, named for the
explorer. have for as long as people lived here, pike's peak has been a marketing tool, and we have used it to help identify this location. pikes peak protrudes out onto the eastern plains. as wethe first 14-er, call it, the first 14,000-foot mountain when you are coming west across the plains towards denver, and that is a beacon, in many ways, for people traveling towards the mountains. i remember many times, growing up in the midwest, coming to colorado and know when you're almost there when you start to the distance.k in you can see it a hundred or more and it seems here, to pull you in as you're coming west.
now, we are at crystal reservoir on the pike's peak highway. we are about 9500 feet in and perhaps one of the best views in the world. in 1770 nine, when thomas jefferson and others were declaring independence on the east coast, this area was , and inby the spanish 1770 nine, spanish colonial forces came within a few miles of where we are now, exploring the region and searching for american-indian people. was sentzebulon pike in, very similar to lewis and clark, who were set to the other part of the newly acquired louisiana territory.
pike was sent to the southwest side, and from his perspective, when he came out here, he really walked off the map. he was the first official to carry word of american ownership of this region to american indian people out here, to create a map of the region, to identify resources that were here in the american west, and .o determine boundaries when jefferson bought the louisiana territory, the anddaries were disputed, the spanish would not have agreed with what thomas jefferson thought he acquired. and even if that dispute had not happened, it was still not quite clear where one country ended and another country began, because that was defined by
drainages,age is, -- and as the zebulon pike was crossing, shortly after entering what we now think of as colorado, he could again to see the mountains, which he called the grand peak. he identified the mountains as a location where he could get high to understandin how the rivers flowed. he looked down on the planes and area, and itng helped him to map the region. when i was here, he thought he would reach the top within a few days, but it really takes week. partly because in the east, where pike grew up, you do not have this does -- you do not ise vistas, were the air many, and you can see for
many miles, and he was confused by the distances out here, so he tried for weeks to reach the top of the mountain. they reached what we believe is a lower mountain called mount rosa, and from there, they could see the head probably three or four more days of a march to get point top, and from that decided it was a danger to the mission to continue moving through deep snow without proper clothing and equipment and with limited food, and so they turned around, and at that point, hike ike wrote in his journal that no one could have peak,ive -- summited the
so he tries to reach the arkansas. today, we think that no one in anyver get to the top condition, and, of course, we are stating on a road where we can today drive to the top of the mountain, but pike was living in very different conditions and circumstances and under those conditions did the best he could. he never reached the summit. that thest determined risk outweighed the reward given what they faced. e neverse, zebulon pik referred to it as pike's peak. he referred to it as the grand peak, and because his journals were initially published in 1910, he was the first person to describe this area in detail, permanently became attached to the mountain and ultimately to the entire region.
there have been people in the region for millennia. it is unknown who first reached , but weof pike's peak do know the first recorded 1820 by a man by the name of edwin james, and edwin james was a botanist for another expedition that followed, and in the he summited summer on a nice, summer day, the mountain was briefly named for him, so for a while, it was named james peak, but pike's e fforts, pike's journals were better known, so they could not shake that name, and so he is moved to a lower mountain. it remains named pike's peak
today. little known, we are trying to change that are trying to study it. he has not had the benefit of lewis and clark, the scholarship. his expeditions were not directly authored by thomas jefferson, the way lewis and clark was. but we think that he is a very important figure in the era of western expedition and exploration, because he is the first to really create a visual image of the american southwest. a visual image through the words that he wrote, the journals that he compiled, and the fact that he got those journals into print before lewis and clark did. they were translated into many languages. people were eager to understand what the west offered.
he helped us understand the geography. he certainly did not get the map correct, and the territory that he covered was he helpslimited, but us to understand the connection, the potential connection between settled parts of the united mexico.nd what is now his journals encouraged what would become the santa fe trail, a trade route that link to the united states with mexico -- that linked the united states with mexico. idea thatther to the the west was when he and others called the great american desert. and that visual image is something that we still see in reality today in terms of how dry and eric this part of the errant can be -- dry and
-- arid this part of the country can be. today, there are many ways to get to the top of pike's peak. the pike's peak highway, which we are standing very near right now, and it is evil to get in their car -- and it is easy for people to get in their car and drive to the top. railroad, a train that takes people to the top, and then there is a trail that allows people to hike to the top. in fact, pikes peak is the way we think of it, and many people may know, but pike's peak inspired the poem that became
"america the beautiful," by bates, who came here to teach a summer course in colorado college, and she took a wagon ride up the mountain, and the view down from the planes and inspiredpoetry -- the images that capture the poetry of the united states, so we think of pike's peak as not this oneolizing location but in many ways the isuty of it, it's majesty for the whole nation. continue the c-span cities tour with the story of wilmette -- william jackson palmer who helped bring railroads to colorado.